Quartz Ridge Trail #570
|Hiking||7.26 Miles|| 4 Hrs 40 Mns ||1.64 mph|
|1,613 ft AEG|| 15 Mns Break||20 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|Pagosa Springs, CO - September 2021 - Hike #7|
This hike would be a slight change from the others... instead of a constant uphill slog this would feature a series of steep climbs punctuated by short descents or somewhat more level areas which made it feel a little less taxing. But to balance that, our AEG for the day will be the most of any of our hikes this trip.
The road to the trailhead from US 160 was barely 3.5 miles, but it was ROUGH! Think of the worst eighth-mile section of FR 143 near Mud Spring TH on the way to Four Peaks.
While sight-lines were limited by trees for much of the hike there were enough scenic viewpoints to keep it interesting. At one point we came to a clearing and spotted a large temporary shelter, so of course I had to take a short detour over to check it out. Upon close inspection it was a tent reserved for use by East Fork Outfitters & Guides. Which brought to mind catching a glimpse of a large trailer near the trailhead with the same company name.
About an hour into the hike we saw a deer, one of the very few we saw on this trip.
One of the two creek crossings was a bit of a challenge, not so much because of the large log to cross, but the 4-6" remnants of branches sticking out at odd angles... easy to trip on. Luckily we both made it across in both directions without any mishaps.
We actually planned to continue to the point where the trails takes a 90° left turn before looping back up the other side of Quartz Ridge but we brought it to a halt when presented with very muddy ascent, which along with being steep and narrow, presented more exposure than I felt comfortable with. There had been two previous sections with plenty of exposure and I was already somewhat gumby-legged, so I was very reluctant to continue. (It seems the older I get the more easily I get freaked out by exposure, so I blame it on old age)
Anyway, we were both famished so we bushwhacked a few hundred feet over to Quartz Creek and took a very peaceful lunch break.
The return trip was uneventful, at least that I can recall... that pesky old-age thing again.